Following the on-going debate in the country arising from the ear infection which President Buhari is currently suffering, a seasoned Professor of Speech and Hearing Rehabilitation, Professor Julius Abiola Ademokoya, has said there is need for the public to be more educated and enlightened about ear-related diseases and the need to go for regular checks in order to detect common ear infections.
Professor Ademokoya, the President, Speech Pathology and Audiology Association of Nigeria, SPAAN granted an interview to some newsmen and spoke extensively on ear infections, revealing that a number of factors that contribute towards the relatively high cases of hearing problems in the country are preventable.
In an interview reported by Vanguard, Professor Ademokoya stated:
“When talking about ear infection, we need to first understand that the ear is divided into three parts, the outside, middle and inner ear. Infections can happen in any of the three parts. Fungal infection can cause external ear infection and if not properly treated can move to the middle ear and also migrate to the inner ear to cause damage.
“The middle ear which is made up of the hole we normally see, contains the tympanic membrane, there can be some infections there as well (utertis media disease). Parts of the middle and inner ears are vulnerable to infection.
“If you look at the middle ear, there is always fluid on the lining of the canal of the hole, some people usually have excess of cerunen, the accummulated fluid in the middle ear can become so much and thick which can create two problems. It can narrow down the passage of sound from outside to the inner ear, that can affect hearing to some extent.
“Secondly, it can put pressure on the tympanic membrane. You know the middle ear also leads to the throat. Now you can have some infections from the upper chest area that will travel from the Eustachian Tube, that leads the middle ear to the throat. Infection can come from the chest or mouth and move through the Eustachian Tube.
Common infections like cold, viral infections, etc., can move through that Eustachian Tube to the ear, and cause infection of the middle ear. Some of all these challenges are not “infections”, rather they are “conditions.”
“For instance, the Eustachian Tube is very delicate and tiny. Some people put sharp or pointed objects into their ears and this can tear tympanic membrane, so that can cause a problem. In the inner ear, there are normally a lot of infections, especially viral infections such as meningitis.
“All the family of viral infections can affect the sensitive part of hearing that is called the Cochlea. Some of these infections affect the Central Nervous System (CNS), organs of hearing and lining of the brain, especially the part that is responsible for hearing and interpretation of sound.
“Meniere’s disease which is called noise in the ear, is sound coming into the ear. Most people in old age experience that, it is the condition that is common with age, It is more of a functional disease than infection. What I mean by functional is that it is something that has to do with aging and it is not really infection per se.
“With advancing age, a lot of conditions begin to come up in the body system that are not really tied to infection but are due to the ageing process. Occasionally, there is ringing (noise) in the ear, you feel it and it could be disturbing especially if it’s becoming persistent.
“We also have Vertigo problem which is peculiar to the inner ear. A symptom includes feeling dizzy, like the world is turning. The balance you enjoy when you stand up correctly and do things correctly, is courtesy of the inner ear function.
“If there is problem with the way you are standing, you can’t walk correctly, jump properly, you can’t balance yourself very well, it could be due to malfunction or vertigo. At times, accident to the ear is a serious factor. Accident resulting from heavy blow to the ear among other issues can cause inner ear problem.
“Number one, hereditary is a factor, because most of the hearing problem has to do with hereditary, especially gradual loss of hearing, another thing is genetic characteristic of your body make up could cause it.
“Causes of hearing impairment Lifestyle, what we expose our ear to as regard the noise. These could be environmental noise. There are times we carelessly expose ourselves to noise. At parties, people sometimes sit very close to the loudspeaker.
“Some wear earpieces all the time to enjoy music and there are instances in which exposure to drugs can cause hearing impairment. Way forward, the education is not there, I think for the first time we are having a high profile hearing case in Nigeria.
“At the Speech Pathology and Audiology Association of Nigeria, we always emphasise that there is need for every Nigerian to go for hearing check up, especially if they are feeling strange in their hearing pattern.”
See Again: Buhari Takes 10-Day Recess For Medical Check
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, traveled to London on a 10 day vacation to seek the attention of specialists with regards to an ear infection related to his old age and while speaking to newsmen shortly before his departure, the presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, maintained that the president was not ill and it was wrong for people to refer to his ear infection as illness.